Friday, March 17, 2006

Quiz Bellevue leaders

The city of Bellevue once was generally known as the Wood River Valley's quaint southern gateway that required drivers to slow down for a few blocks while en route to where the action was farther north.

No more. Bellevue is literally at the dawn of exploding growth and change that'll make it a hotspot of activity, rivaling other valley communities.

That alone should prompt citizens of Bellevue to turn out Monday night at City Hall to hear and quiz candidates running for three seats on the City Council. The Pizza and Politics session, hosted by the Idaho Mountain Express, begins at 6 p.m.

Bellevue's challenges are as formidable as any community has faced in recent years.

Developers of a 560-acre tract that could include 1,000 homes and townhouses, for example, want to annex the property into the city, a move that would nearly double the size of Bellevue.

A $9.5 million upgrade of the city's antiquated water system is also in the works. A master plan for new parks is awaiting a decision. Popular boutique restaurants and bars are luring new customers and thereby more traffic to the area.

And perhaps most critical of all, Bellevue will be the closest large community to the region's new airport south of Timmerman Hill, if and when built. This would demand new housing for airport construction workers, residences for airport employees, lodging for airline crews and visitors and shops for vacationers.

Will Bellevue be prepared?

The answers lie with the council candidates who await questions Monday night from voters.

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